At over 10,500 square km’s, this is one very big salt lake! It is in fact the largest in the world. Over it’s expanse, it’s average elevation varies by less than a metre! Although, when you get out on the ‘lake’, it’s hard to imagine why parts of it aren’t much lower given the number of Toyota Landcruiser tourist vehicles that are on it each day!
We took an afternoon / evening tour, leaving Uyuni at 4.00pm, joining 5 other travellers from Japan, Costa Rica and Korea in our Lexus Landcruiser. Why didn’t we take the troopy you ask? Well, to get the best views, you drive out to the salt lake and then drive through about a foot of salty water for another 4 or 5 kilometres. Did we want salt splashing up under the vehicle? Did we want to risk getting bogged as many tourists do – no to both questions. We were joined on the lake by 200 (probably more – too many to count and covering too large an area!) other tourist vehicles like ours.
We wandered around in 200mm’s of salty water, in our complimentary (for the tour) rubber boots and over 6 hours watched the sun go down and the stars appear. Over this time, the wind dropped to nothing and the lake became the worlds biggest mirror.
There is nothing much to do out on the lake, although the tour guides managed to provide entertainment about which we will fill you in later when we get sent the photos from one of our fellow tourists.
Funnily enough the temperature dropped as well! We had prepared with enough clothes but didn’t bank on our feet. However, after our toes went numb we were fine!